Bankrupt Syria builds museum for Bashar Al-Assad's deceased brother
A museum dedicated to Bassel Al-Assad, the Syrian president's late brother, has opened in Latakia province, despite the dire economic conditions in the country that has led to millions going hungry.
The 350 square-metre shrine features a statue and personal objects of Bassel, a leading figure in the Syrian regime who was tipped to inherit the presidency once his father Hafez Al-Assad died.
Bassel's premature death in a car crash in 1994 saw succession swiftly fall at his younger brother's feet, and Bashar Al-Assad has ruled Syria since 2000.
Despite his untimely death preventing him from playing a leading role in Syria's future, Bassel has had a museum built in his honour.
The Golden Knight Martyr Bassel Al-Assad museum is situated in the Al-Assad Sports Complex, Latakia province, and was unveiled by state media this week as the Syrian regime celebrates the 50th anniversary of a Baathist coup led by Hafez Al-Assad.
The shrine to the Assad regime figurehead is surrounded by an 8,000 sqm gardens and features photos and personal atefacts of Bassel, including equestrian medals collected during his time as a show jumper, according to Syrian journalist Omar Kasir.
The construction of the museum comes at a time of dire economic circumstances for Syria, where around half the population is classed as food insecure.
The Syrian regime is suffering extreme money shortages due to an economic crisis in neighbouring Lebanon, corruption, and the cost of a ten-year war.
Recently, the government cut subsidies for bread and fuel causing further misery for ordinary Syrians.
A mausoleum exists for Hafez and Bassel in the Assad's ancestral home of Qardaha, part of a cult of personality around the notorious family.